The locals of Collaroy have been loving the barista coffee at Outpost Espresso for some time and now it's 'Freshie's' turn to enjoy the special brand of cafe culture, that owner Andy brings to his eateries.
Little Collins Freshwater is the newest cafe in the thriving Freshwater shopping and noshery precinct on the Northern Beaches. Team manager, Hana and gastronomically-creative chef Tua, have been serving to packed brekky and lunch crowds since Little Collins opened two months ago and have been loving the mix of patrons; mothers' groups and local business people during the week and the young beach crowd and families on the weekend.
A good barista and Campos coffee is the perfect blend
Open from 6am to 4pm daily, and positioning itself as the place to go for all day breakfasts, in addition to its lunch and kids' menus, this is a relaxed, daytime meeting place. It fits perfectly with the al fresco dining preferences of the north shore and its busy beachside suburbs.
What I loved about the experience of lunch at Little Collins was the friendly service and the fresh, new menu, that offers surprising variations on traditional cafe favourites. As a mum who hates taking her pre-schooler out to breakfast, I was impressed with the tailored kids' breakfast menu, which includes child-friendly treats like Dippy Egg Soldiers and Chicky Burger (ranging from $7.50 - $9.50). You mean I don't have to order my kids a massive plate of pancakes, a friand they won't eat, or shamefully ask for a plate of chips at 9am in the morning? Good thinking, Little Collins, good thinking! Mums will love you.
Freshly baked muffins daily and you never know which flavour might be served
The other thing that drew my eye was the smart selection of take-away eats that would complement a satisfying Campos coffee, or a yummy, fresh juice, at any time of the day. Chef Tua changes the menu for his freshly baked muffins daily, and his flavours are original, both in ingredient fusion and taste experience. My husband and I tried the strawberry, lemon, mint and white choc (a favourite with regulars) and the banana, peanut and Nutella flavours. Both were winners!
But what of these surprising variations on hot brunch and lunch menu favourites, I hear you ask? My husband indulged in the lunch menu's Calamari with a Thai Style Salad & Chilli and was well chuffed that he ditched his usual choice of burger, for this taste explosion. The calamari are plentiful and cooked in a light, crispy batter, rather than a fattening ball of lard, ala many pub servings of fried calamari. As much as I love a traditional big breakfast, I can't go past innovative combinations when I find them on a menu and I chose Smashed Peas on Sourdough and a side of halloumi from The Kickstarter menu. A very different approach to an all-day brekky option but the flavour combination of smashed peas, 'speck ribbons' of bacon and labne cheese was complementary and very tasty.
Smashed peas with crispy speck ribbons & labne on toasted sourdough with parmesan crisps
Unlike many brunch menus that can be limited or play it safe, Little Collins has something for everyone, to suit the time of the day you eat and the way you feel. The Rise and Shine menu has those lighter treats ($15 and under) like a Smoothie Bowl, Three Grain Porridge and Banana Bread. The Kickstarter breakfast has more substantial brunch options (from $10 to $20) with glorious ingredients such as Truffled Mushrooms, Corn Fritters, Prosciutto with Poached Egg and Haloumi and a Trio of Bennys (smoked salmon, double smoked ham, spinach, tomato and hollandaise sauce). To top off the selection, the Feeling Hungry menu (served from 11am) has Burger, Lamb Ragu, Gourmet Salad and Snapper options (with nothing over $23).
So, if you're in the market for a relaxed vibe and you're a Freshie local, or northern beaches foodie, Little Collins Freshwater is well worth a visit. The mix of flavours has been chosen carefully and the food is presented well, providing a sophisticated cafe experience, with competitive prices and good options for family brunching. It's impressive food without pretension and like its sister café at Collaroy, it's sure to become another local favourite for the beaches crowd.